Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has signed the review to the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between her and the National Youth Service Corps NYSC.
At the event, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, heaped praises on the selflessness, dedication and commitment of members of the NYSC scheme for contribution towards the successful conduct of elections in the country, declaring that “Nigeria is fortunate to have the NYSC”.
He said “The NYSC, youth Corps members are among the most educated, most committed, most patriotic and most readily available election duty staff in Nigeria. We are really happy that we have been collaborating with the NYSC, they go to all the nooks and crannies of the country without complain”.
Prof. Yakubu explained that the MoU was not the first, but a review to the existing agreement between both organizations. He said, “It has identified 11 obligations on the part of INEC and 10 obligations on the part of the NYSC.
“I want to assure you DG that we will continue to emphasize on the security and welfare of Corps members on election duty. I know that the MoU provides for a periodic review after every four years but this is a regular periodic review. Whenever the need arises, the Commission is always willing to review aspects of the memorandum at anytime in order to attain to these two objectives of ensuring the security and welfare of the Corps members.
“The MoU is governed by the laws of the Federation of Nigeria of the time being imposed and to show our commitments and seriousness to particularly the security and welfare of the Corps members, the MoU will provide for all ad-hoc staff insurance cover under the INEC personnel hazard policy for the period of engagement and this covers injury, permanent disability, loss of life and property or any person declared missing in the cause of carrying out the Commission’s assigned duties, while the appropriate sections of the public service rules will apply to the NYSC staff, as well as other employees who are public servants serving in the federation of Nigeria.
On his part, the DG of NYSC, Maj. Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, appreciated the Commission for the long standing cordial relationship. He noted that the enormous contribution of Corps members in enhancing the credibility of elections in Nigeria.
The DG corroborated the INEC Chairman on the successes achieved in Anambra governorship election . He said “I was in Anambra for five days, Corps members were scared and I told them there was no cause to fear and I stayed with them for 5 days. I moved round the Local Governments, Polling Unit by Polling Unit and this engendered their confidence in the electoral process and they did their best. There was no injury, nothing to any of my Corps members”.
Gen. Ibrahim urged the Commission to sustain the relationship with the NYSC, and assured that the Youth corps members remain committed to serving the Country and contributing to conduct of credible elections. he said “I want to urge INEC to continue to sustain this relationship with NYSC. I can assure you that Corps members are willing, they’re very patriotic and they are ready to put in their best to the service of the country”.
The signing of the MoU was also witnessed by all 12 National Commissioner, Secretary to the Commission, Mrs. Rose Anthony-Oriaran, the Director General of the Electoral Institute, Dr. Saád Idris, Directors and other Management staff of the Commission.
Owing to the early passage and assent to the amendment to the Electoral Act, INEC has said the Guidelines and Regulations for the 2023 general election will be ready 10 months ahead of the general election.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, gave the hint, when he received a delegation from John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, led by its President, John Palfrey, at the INEC Headquarters, Abuja, on Monday.
The INEC Chairman recalled that In 2019, the Commission was constrained by time due to the uncertainty that trailed the electoral legal framework which saw the Commission signing off on the Regulations and Guidelines on the 19th of January, 2019, few weeks to the election.
He said “but we hope that this time around we will sign off on the Regulations and Guidelines at least 10 months before the next general election, which is very good progress for us”.
Harping on the new Electoral Act 2022, Prof. Yakubu said “the Electoral Act has been repealed and re-enacted. It was not just a question of amendment, the amendments were so extensive, so eventually the National Assembly repealed and re-enacted the electoral act”. He added that “this is the 3rd time since 1999, where the country is repealing and re-enacting the Electoral Act”.
Speaking further on the Commission’s source of power to develop the Guidelines and Regulations, the INEC Chairman said “we are happy with the assent, we now have a new electoral law, on the bases of which we commenced work on the Regulations and Guidelines. The Electoral Act cannot say everything, so the National Assembly donates part of its power to INEC to make Regulations and Guidelines and these Regulations and Guidelines have forms of subsidiary legislation.
Earlier in his remarks, the President of John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John Palfrey, congratulated the Commission for the successes achieved in areas where it made recommendations after 2019 general election.
He said “I wish also to recall having been able to visit in 2019 and we discussed several things that were underway at that time. One was the progress of the Electoral Act, and I’d like to congratulate you on the passage of the Electoral Act. Second, we discussed and encouraged the creation of a new department on Gender and Inclusivity, here at INEC and congratulate you on the creation of this department and the successful implementation. The third thing we discussed was the creation of new polling units and I understand that these too have been completed and that you are well in preparation for 2023”.